Amanda's Meanderings


You make hay when the sun shines
July 11, 2018, 12:46 pm
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No, really. We have two calves and they will need to eat this winter. We’re surrounded by pasture so…we asked a neighbor to help us make hay for shares.

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On Monday evening we were able to *almost* finish baling it. My father and brother helped.

So, dad and his siblings grew up here on the farm. My house is on the northwest corner of the larger property. Dad made hay on the farm for…many…years-all of my memory until I was 15. Dad has occasionally tried to sell his equipment since about 2001. But! I’m glad he didn’t ’cause the neighbor’s baler didn’t work and the one that dad has had in his yard since 1999 started right up and baled the field — until a “thing” broke. Okay. Full disclosure: a chain broke almost immediately. But then an hour later it was fixed and we were back in business!

My mom and I started joined an aerobics class here in town — a first for both of us. Monday was the first class and we honestly both wobbled out of the gym feeling the effects immediately. When I got home, Hubby handed me the toddler and I strapped him into our carrier on my back. I spent the next three hours wearing him while making hay. Sorry there’s no picture of that! Beast Mode for sure. All of that combined to make Tuesday and today very sore. Beast Mode works wonders in the moment…but comes with quite a price the next day! I’m really looking forward to the next class on Thursday. I’ll have to let you know how it goes.

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Oh boy. I’m on a toot.
July 10, 2018, 9:21 am
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So. I spent much of 2017 caring for an infant and lying sick in bed. I’m — LITERALLY — missing the bulk of four months from my memory. Wow.

Anyway, I’m here now and have something on my mind. I read a news article this am which confuses me a bit. I found the article at Huffington Post. “‘Battle Of The Moms’ Headline For Serena Willams-Evgeniya Rodina Game Causes Uproar.” After reading it, I shook my head and then the mental writing began.

So apparently, Canadian newspaper writer, Howard Fendrich, referred to the tennis match as the “Battle of the Moms” and now he is getting roasted for suggesting that either tennis superstar is “just” a mom.

This article confuses me a little because I didn’t find the title insulting and I bristle at the phrase “just a mom.”

I do not follow any sport closely (though I spend most of every Sunday September-February with my hubby “watching” football) but I do occasionally enjoy reading stories about incredible athletes and what they are able to achieve. Howard Fendrich’s article title did not anger me as it served (pun intended) to do for so many others who have clearly misunderstood. To me, the title read like this: “These women are two of the greatest tennis players of all AND they’re moms!” (I confess I do not recognize the name of the other contender mentioned in this article — not a tennis fan.)

The simple fact that her (Serena’s) body expanded to nourish a person inside of her, followed almost immediately by her body nearly tearing wide open in order for that little person to evacuate, and then *other* parts of her body expanding to nourish that same little person is miraculous and awe-inspiring. AND she can still compete at the elite level?! That is the impressive part for me.

One troller asked “Do you guys ever call it battle of the dads when men who have kids play?” No. Why would they? Fathers do not have their bodies challenged as much as mothers do to bring new life. A father has a wonderful role in parenthood, but their physical form is not as drastically changed and demanded. For a woman athlete, motherhood could be the end of their professional career — but in the best way! The truth is that there are volumes of mother-athletes…but not many at the top! It is the ultimate achievement to be at the top of an athletic industry AND to be a mother. In fact, it is an amazing achievement to be a mother and do anything else. Ever.

Another critic says this: “Really??? Do you call it a battle of the dads when two men play? One of the greatest tennis players of all time, and you’re reducing her to just being a mom. Do better”

Aaaannnndddd here it comes…

“Just” a mom? Please. This is the future-altering lie that an entire generation of women has been fed. And we have swallowed it whole. As if being a mom is something you resort to when you have reached your professional goals…or are otherwise worthless. We are told “you can do anything a man can do” and while I understand the attempted point with that comment, the spirit of it reduces Motherhood to an afterthought. Instead of Motherhood being a goal for women, it has become the fall-back plan. The “someday………maybe.” And even then, every. single. decision. regarding your style of mothering will be seen and used to judge your worthiness as a mom. Moms are never “reduced” to just a mom. Being a mom is the single most difficult thing I will ever do. The most difficult thing I could ever do. Compound that difficulty by adding more children.

But here’s the truth: not every woman gets to be a Mother. (And there’s a difference between “Mother” and “Mom.” Similar to the difference between “Father” and “Dad.” But, for the sake of this piece, I used them interchangeably.) I count myself deeply and honorably Blessed by motherhood. With all the sacrifices I’ve made to become a mother, I don’t regret a single thing. I don’t know a mom who does.

*On the other hand…I personally know several married couples who have remained purposely childless for the sake of professional goals. That’s okay, too. I don’t want to give the impression that I think Motherhood should be the ultimate goal for every woman. It shouldn’t be. Motherhood will not grant you access to heaven.*

So, Howard Fendrich, please continue to let me know which female athletes are mothers. I don’t feel reduced by Motherhood. I can recognize the ultimate athletic achievement.



Something I found somewhere…
April 6, 2017, 2:26 pm
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Life is too short! Live like you mean it! I love this…



8, 6, 5, 2, and NEW!
February 14, 2017, 11:21 am
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Lately I’ve been completely overwhelmed…with good things! Decklan joined us on December 30th. The past month+ has flown by. I’ve really tried to focus on “living in the now.” After 5 children, I finally understand the poem which says, “Settle down, dust; cobwebs go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.” I’ve really just taken the time to sit with Decklan and enjoy it. I don’t look around and see everything else which needs doing; nor do I fret about any kind of time table. My husband has afforded me with the space we all need to just sit with the baby and not stress about the other stuff. With the thought that this is our last baby, I find that I’m broken and relieved at the same time. Broken because I can’t hold him enough during the day (there simply isn’t enough day)…I’m afraid that I’ll forget his little smell and the feel of his tiny-ness. But, I find that I’m also relieved because the end of this part means the beginning of a new phase in life. The idea of going from Building babies to simply Raising people would be a change for us. Relief would come for me with the end of the “maybe” phase. I don’t like to live in “Maybe.”

We’ve also been so blessed by K! She lives in our yard (long story) and she has become entwined in our lives and hearts for a time. Since the baby came, she has visited the house regularly to help with household chores and just play with the other kids. Getting to know her better and see her heart has been such a blessing to us. Her visits are another reason I’ve been able to just sit and enjoy the newborn phase more than ever before.

The weather is warming up unusually early and so has prompted an early spring fever. We’ve all been walking around the farm together and cutting down trees for the wood pile, burning the grass, and dreaming of bleating on the hill. My hope for sheep has a chance to see the light this summer! We also hope to add to our flock of birds. We got a few layers and meat chickens last summer and kept a few laying hens. We hope they’ll hatch out some chicks of their own this spring. (We’ll find a rooster soon…) Now the sun is shining, the clothesline is working, and today is a very special day for us. My husband is older today! It may be a holiday for everyone else, but for us it’s more than special. It’s a day to celebrate the best person in my whole world. He’s been so wonderful for putting up with me for +10 years of marriage, and I wouldn’t trade those 10 years for any other time in my life.

That’s my story for today. Enjoy yours!



Already?
June 3, 2016, 7:36 pm
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Oh my word. So much time. So much news. So much heart. So many babies….. another one coming this winter = 5! And thru it all — all the heartache, disappointment, blinding Happiness, repentance, ridiculous Joy, homeschooling, and fear — I have felt the hand of the Lord leading us and loving us. Our little family has seen loved ones suffer heart attacks, near-death experiences, some welcome new babies…and others grieve for lost ones, survive cancer, several divorces, garden success and failure, new pets, and we’ve grown in so much Love. We love to be together every day. We love to sing together, dance together, eat together, play together, worship together. To just Be. Together. My life couldn’t get more complicated……..or happier. We initially really struggled with the news of another baby. Not gonna lie or sugar-coat it. #4 is very difficult — he requires a different style of parenting than the others. And, with our age, another baby didn’t really sound like fun at first. But. Who are we to say “no” to another Blessing? Of course we’re delighted. Hubby loves the thought of another little person to love. So, this is where we live: Love, Happiness, Anticipation, Joy, Peace. It’s a nice place to live.



It happened
December 6, 2014, 2:14 pm
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It was really only a matter of time before “It” happened. The thing that every child dreads. The most extreme consequence to refusing to help at pick-up time. “It” happened last night……..

Mother: It’s pick-up time, guys! Let’s get this house lookin’ good!
Children: We don’t want to pick up our toys, Mommy. Let’s just throw them away.
Mother: But, Christmas is coming. You need to show us that you value your toys before we get you any more.
Children: Well, if we don’t have these toys anymore, we’ll have LOTS more room for new ones.

(Cue the dramatic lighting and ominous music.) Mother raises her finger to point at her children. Mother: If thou dost not treasure thine treasures nor show a proper Thankfulness for thine home, thy Mother and Father shall withhold from thee thine treasures until such a time as thou learnest proper respect and develop an attitude of helpfulness within thine home and elsewhere.

Children (in unison): Okay, Mommy. Go ahead. We don’t want them anymore.

Just like that! Okay, not quite like that. But the point is the same. The kids didn’t want to help anymore and told me to throw their toys away. So last night and today I’ve spent some major time gathering and storing (for now) SEVERAL boxes and bins of toys. The girls still have a few that they actually do play with. But the boy? Totally toyless. Truly, I’m not a monster. I didn’t enjoy removing the toys amidst wailing and gnashing of teeth. Their father and I spent much time gathering all the wonderful garage sale prizes our kids would love to play with, and finding places to hold everything.  And I LOVE to make the toy lists for grandparents to go toy shopping for our babies. But friends, when my beautiful children looked at me with their stunningly gorgeous eyeballs (1 pair of giant brown eyes and 2 pairs of arresting blue ones, mind you) and proved to me how ungrateful they are for their toys, I suddenly realized I’d made a big mistake in indulging their appetites for things.

This ungrateful attitude first showed itself to this degree about a year ago. I’m a very patient woman when it comes to my children. So, after a year of pushing (and sometimes dragging) our children to develop a loving heart toward their treasures, we decided that they simply need fewer treasures to love. I’m not sure that it’s really worth a whole blog post, but that’s my story. I love my children enough that I took their toys away. Now they’ll have to play outside, or read, or play games with each other, talk to each other or, (gasp) learn how to be alone. I think we’ll ALL be okay.

 

Have you ever done something counter-culture for the good of your children?



Another new Season
December 18, 2013, 7:35 pm
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I just re-read what I wrote last time. Now I find myself in a new Season of Change. Baby #4 is coming in the spring and with him/her comes all kinds of emotional and family dynamic changes. But, it’s really made me buckle down and make another change. I’m saying goodbye to Facebook. It’s something I should have done MONTHS ago! My level of disobedience to the Lord in this matter is somewhat shocking; even to myself. I’ve known for a long time now that this is what He wants me to do, but I’ve been dragging my feet and making excuses for keeping it. It’s become the main way church faithfully shares good and bad news and encouraging articles. It’s the only way I ever see or hear anything from long-distance relatives and friends (aside from the family gossip hotline). I enjoy reading status updates about the new discount grocery store in the neighborhood.

But here’s the thing: God told me to close it down. That’s honestly enough reason for me to do it.

This is the beginning of my new season of Home. I have (almost 4) small children. I’m supposed to stay home and nurture my family. (I consider a few non-relatives to be a part of my family and I want to nurture my relationships with them as well.) It isn’t my job right now to go all over the countryside (or the internet) seeking the superficial company of others. That’s what Facebook had become for me — a way to keep up with people I love without any real or intentional interaction. My life according to Facebook for the past 2 years has been to read updates from my friends and then to feel no real obligation to go the extra mile; to write them a note or to visit. I’ve considered a Facebook comment to be enough consolation for the death of a spouse, or enough Happy on a birthday. Or for a conversation about the Awe-inspiring God I worship… For people I claim to love! Shame on me. I’ve neglected people and personal interaction for the lazy way out; for the ease of simply pushing a few buttons. The most heinous part about it is that internet interaction (all merely written correspondence) removes all inflection, tone, body language, and Deeper Meaning from communication. Except when you really know the one you’re writing to. It eliminates our ability to qualify our point with a look of sincerity or the quiet tone of understanding. If I had a dollar for every time what I’ve written has been completely misunderstood I would be very wealthy. Facebook has become a tool to make us think we know each other based on the pictures and/or articles we share. It’s wrongly become a platform for “venting” about relatives and friends instead of being open with one another and sharing when we’ve been hurt and why — with the one it should be aimed at. The internet has enabled us to read meaning into a conversation through the goggles of our own bitterness, heartbreak, pessimism, and insincerity. As a culture, we’ve lost the personal responsibility that comes with personal interaction. And it’s caused an interesting social phenomenon. When I realize I’ve been “un-friended” it’s awkward to be around that person in real life. I wonder if it was something I said or shared, or a picture I uploaded…….or the undesired and misunderstood encouragement? It’s weird for me. I realize that’s MY problem, but I don’t think it’s just me.

But the bottom line is that I don’t know my friends anymore and I don’t like it. Unfortunately I’ve also discovered that a few people I considered my friends had changed so much that we no longer have anything in common. Literally nothing. And I’ve not allowed my friends to come to know me, (I mean, to know the real me) either. So here’s what I hope to change about myself — I want to be more purposeful in my relationships. I pledge to become more sincere in my pursuit of friendships. Please understand that I’m in no way suggesting that you also close your Facebook account. I’m not saying that the internet has no good use at all. But I am saying that I’ve abused social networking in a friendship-killing way and that I hope to change that. I want honest, open, genuine and sincere relationships with those people who have had the most impact in my life. So, I will stay home and make more effort to communicate with my loved ones. I am moving beyond Facebook and stepping back into real life and real love. Today, I’m choosing to change.

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